Lake Fork of the Conejos River – 07/18/2016

Time: 2:30PM – 4:00PM

Location: Lake Fork confluence with the main Conejos River to a short distance beyond the large pipe under CO 105.

Lake Fork of the Conejos River 07/18/2016 Photo Album

As a diversion from the fruitless casting on the Conejos, I lobbed a few casts to the small Lake Fork, and I was surprised to witness two momentary hook ups and three refusals. As one might expect, this caught my attention after the hopeless prospecting that I endured on the main river. I decided to devote the remainder of my July 18 fishing time to the tiny Lake Fork.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rGLbHJ6-xP8/V5FJ8MOQPtI/AAAAAAABBLI/RjSpwH4jd9g7jFOoNtLSP_KkVo0jJsRCgCHM/s144-o/P7180013.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6309905809060679761?locked=true#6309905851344764626″ caption=”Small Stream Salvaged Day” type=”image” alt=”P7180013.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Given the refusals and temporary hook ups, I experimented with smaller fare beginning with Jake’s gulp beetle with the salvation dropper, but this duo was ignored. The contrast between five interactions with trout to no interest was stark. I concluded that the fish were attracted to the yellow body color of the pool toy, but the imitation was too large, and thus they turned away or simply bumped the pool toy. I responded with a size twelve light yellow stimulator with palmered grizzly hackle over the body, and this finally yielded a twelve inch brown trout that did not escape. I was impressed that such a small stream held a twelve inch brown trout, so I decided to explore farther.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-EFPyHrhPoKw/V5FJ8tOG9EI/AAAAAAABBLI/b6VvL-aiamAwCNe3Sd9OoIwtu-A1nBbHgCHM/s144-o/P7180016.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6309905809060679761?locked=true#6309905860202525762″ caption=”Just Pretty” type=”image” alt=”P7180016.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Although the stimulator finally delivered a netted fish, it also provoked some refusals and momentary hook ups, so it was not a perfect fly choice. After this mixed success, I hooked another fish, and it broke off perhaps due to an abrasion in my tippet. I used this fly change as an excuse to downsize to a size 14 yellow stimulator, and what a fortuitous change it proved to be. I landed five additional Lake Fork brown trout as I worked my way from the Conejos to  the large corrugated pipe that shunted the creek under CO 105. Of course I experienced additional momentary hookups and refusals, but I had a blast finally connecting with fish, and I enjoyed constant action. The creek was so small that it was almost a waste to make more than one or two casts in each likely fish holding spot, as the motion and line quickly telegraphed my presence.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RXTWY4LgCoE/V5FJ9IRQ1iI/AAAAAAABBLI/NUNpxbg06n8-nlvBM6HzHKzDWe88w6KRgCHM/s144-o/P7180018.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6309905809060679761?locked=true#6309905867463513634″ caption=”A Beast for the Lake Fork” type=”image” alt=”P7180018.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

I reached the pipe with the fish counter stuck on nine, and a momentary hookup on the juicy deep area on the right side of the midstream boulder thwarted my effort to achieve double digits. I paused, and before moving on, I lobbed a cast to the blind side of the large round exposed rock, and wham! Number ten was a nice eleven inch brown, and I coaxed it into my net. I continued beyond CO 105 on the upside of the pipe and landed one more brown trout, and then the sky darkened, and I heard distant thunder. A string of refusals temporarily destroyed my confidence in the yellow stimulator, and at 4PM the wind gusted, and sheets of rain descended from the dark sky. I paused and dug out my raincoat and hustled back to the Santa Fe for relief from the weather.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QQTHzJ8xpWk/V5FJ9aDGKNI/AAAAAAABBLI/u1idNwDMEn0sIm4H0I6DA95d33XZ0HfQwCHM/s144-o/P7180019.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6309905809060679761?locked=true#6309905872235931858″ caption=”A Fish Surprised Me on the Far Side of the Boulder” type=”image” alt=”P7180019.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

The Lake Fork salvaged my day, but I was now uncertain where to fish during the remainder of my time in the Conejos River valley. I paid to camp at the Lake Fork Campground through Thursday, so I was reluctant to cut my losses to seek greener pastures.

Fish Landed: 7

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